What is EngSoc?

Cailin Hillier, Lisa Liu, Bhavya Kashyap, Jon Martin, Hobyung Lee, Anish Bhutani - Staff Writers
Posted on: July 21, 2010

Cailin

I am involved in EngSoc, know the exec, what they do and have held directorships.

At first, EngSoc was intimidating to me. Then I started attending events and made new friends. Over time, I started to contribute to EngSoc, finding it very rewarding, a great deal of fun and a home away from home.

EngSoc is open minded. Personally, I know that active EngSoc members and the exec are forever looking for ways to improve the services EngSoc offers and try to get more people involved in order to cater to the larger student population. The people involved in EngSoc work very hard and, with time, are very welcoming. The active society members aren’t mean snobs. They love meeting new people, answering questions, and giving back.

I have heard many times that EngSoc appears to be a giant clique; however it is so much more than that. EngSoc brings everyone the exam bank, POETS, course critiques and more.

Many people complain about not knowing what EngSoc does or pass judgment upon those people who are involved, lumping them into one generic group. It is lazy to complain but a completely different thing to take action and share ideas.

Any person can take initiative to become informed; that’s the entire premise of civic duty. The EngSoc website and reading the Iron Warrior are great places to start. Do you know the difference between EngSoc and GradComm? You should.

The EngSoc exec work very hard and want to hear your ideas. Try emailing them; you will see this is true. Each person has the capacity to utilize EngSoc resources to create an event that interests you. Just ask someone.

In any group of people, inside jokes and strong friendships form. It is hard coming into an environment that is already established like that. But people there want you to enjoy the EngSoc events they are hosting and use the EngSoc services that are at your disposal. And feel welcomed. That’s what it is all about.

Lisa

I am the one who lacks school spirit and can’t be bothered to get involved ever.

We are told from day 1 of frosh week that EngSoc is here for the student body, and that they will have meetings and plan events to provide a better experience for all engineering students. However, that naivety of what we are taught soon disappeared as I learned more and more of what EngSoc is. Maybe it’s the truth, or maybe it’s perception, but to me EngSoc is a clique. It is a group of a specific type of students in engineering who get along with each other and hang out together, except under the impression of the betterment of the whole engineering student body.

But really, what exactly does EngSoc do? Maybe I should go seeking the answer to that question, but really, I just can’t be bothered because I’ve never seen anything important they’ve done. That means what they do must not be important enough for me to go out of my way to look for it. The only thing I’ve ever heard of EngSoc doing is planning trips. Of course, we get the mass Facebook invites, where all those marking attending are, you guessed it, EngSoc insiders. It seems almost like these events are planned as an excuse for EngSoc people to get together and take a trip as friends somewhere.

Not only is it a clique, but it’s a non-inclusive clique as well. Especially as an upper year, to want to get involved in a late stage means having to penetrate a barricade put up by folks who have known each other well for a long time. Then again, maybe this is all completely false. The bottom line is that the above is the image that EngSoc has presented to the general student body. As a student society, this kind of excluding elitist image should not be acceptable.

Bhavya

I have gone to the occasional EngSoc meeting, but I am not deeply involved with the society.

EngSoc seems very inward facing, like a club rather than a student society. It doesn’t deter me from attending the meetings, but there is no draw to go. The knowledge of how EngSoc operates seems very esoteric.

While I am not necessarily represented as a visible minority, the main problem is a lack of personality diversity in EngSoc. While I am not implying that everyone in EngSoc has the same personality, a certain personality type is prevalent.

The exec should be more visible. Most people are unaware of who the president is, regardless of how much he does. Sometimes it isn’t enough to say action speaks louder than words; you need to say what you do and show that you care.

I’m aware of things EngSoc does for the faculty. However, I only know via word of mouth. Meeting minutes are available and this should be better advertised. EngSoc and academic reps should coordinate to bring EngSoc activities to the attention of their classes. My favourite EngSoc events are trips or Semi Formals where everyone is welcomed, even those who don’t drink. These events speak to most cultural and sub-cultural demographics within engineering.

Events should be created for the larger ethnic groups in engineering, as EngSoc tends to be a bit monochromatic and the events reflect this. Changing this will be hard, but finding what the student population wants would be a start.

I do not feel represented by EngSoc; the diversity statistics of EngSoc are off. While it could be said that the problem is with me and that the only way to fix this would be to join, EngSoc should operate like a corporation: the problem can be with the client, but if the corporation doesn’t change to accommodate the client, the corporation will stagnate. In this case, there is a problem on both sides, but it is EngSoc’s job to reignite pride in all students. Once EngSoc can change its reputation from being an exclusive club, it will begin to attract some new blood.

Anish

I have been going to EngSoc meetings since 1A and have held a few directorships. I got involved because I knew no one when I came to Waterloo and thought it would be a good way of meeting people with similar interests.

I think people who are involved with EngSoc are the types of people who want to go out and meet people. Through my own experience, I have found that if you are willing to go to a group of people at an event, they will be willing to meet you.

Most people don’t know what EngSoc does and they fill in the gaps on their own ideas. I have gotten to know a few EngSoc execs and feel that they do a lot of work for very little appreciation.

Smaller EngSoc events that you can attend for a short while and leave should be more frequent, as opposed to events like Semi Formal. Those large events take more time and you can’t hang out with just your friends. Coffee House events are great; you can attend it for a short while, see your friends play and leave. I think most events simply lack advertising and the average group of engineering students should go because they will likely enjoy themselves.

Having at least met all exec members, I know the meetings they attend and have been to the orifice a number of times, so I know what services are offered.

Blog updates would help get everyone to know what events and meetings are going on. Blogs could also help students interested in what was covered in meetings and give their own opinions.

I feel that EngSoc can be very intimidating for those who do not know anyone involved, but I think that any student who tries to meet people at EngSoc events will succeed.

Hob

I am involved with the Iron Warrior but not much with EngSoc.

To me, EngSoc comes off as cliquey. There is nothing wrong with that, but when representing students, having an atmosphere that doesn’t repel or really attract people comes off negatively.

The concern I have with EngSoc is that those involved with senior positions only seem to go out of their way to talk to classes when there is an election. This isn’t a stab at the current EngSoc executives. Since my first year, all I have ever seen of execs are when they come into class and ask for votes.

This lack of face-time is the reason I do not feel represented by the society. You don’t have to talk to everybody, but would it hurt to at least try and talk to some of us?

There’s a variety of people from all different background that make up the student body. If EngSoc is to represent this group, shouldn’t there be more events to better appeal to them?

Lack of communication could be resolved with the opportunity to give feedback. There’s an online forum, but something more tangible would be nice. This would help lessen the student-EngSoc distance.

Diversification of EngSoc events would bring new people out. I’ve been to some events and they’ve been great. But it’s always the same people that go. Apart from first year students, there are rarely new people attending EngSoc events.

The majority of the student body just doesn’t know about EngSoc. If more emphasis was put on advertising EngSoc activities, the overall view of the Society would improve.

A more visible location for a calendar with upcoming events could help. The EngSoc Google Group is also a great way to spread the word. Let people know about it and where they can sign up.

I think EngSoc has come off as more exclusive than they would like. The execs try to help things run smoothly for the student population. However, the perception of EngSoc as a whole has come off as an exclusive clique that doesn’t do anybody any good.

Jon

I have written articles for the Iron Warrior since my 1A term, as well as volunteering for Student Life 101 and Orientation Week.

I find that EngSoc has an air of privacy to it; few feel that they can join and be accepted. If you actually go out to events or talk to people on campus you find that they are actually very friendly and inclusive.

My biggest concern with EngSoc is the lack of involvement from many groups. Many people feel they are not represented by the society. Unfortunately, this feeling of exclusion prevents people from actually getting involved and making changes.

I know a few of the exec. They are all really good people who do their jobs well, balancing exec roles with regular homework we all have. They deserve more credit than they receive.

Encouraging people to come out or create an event that they want offered is the only way to change the face of EngSoc. Students have to step up and make their opinions heard instead of avoiding the issue.

I want to see more people get involved and actively change EngSoc. There are a lot of events, but opportunities to cater to a wide audience – just take initiative and make it happen.

I feel that a lot of people do not know what services are provided by EngSoc and as a result, they see the society mainly as an organizer of events, not a society representing a faculty full of students.

A system to spread information about EngSoc events and services should also take in responses and opinions of the entire engineering population. Additionally, people need to be made aware of current communication methods available.

I think a lot of people feel that EngSoc is very exclusive, which prevents them from joining and changing that image. While I personally have found the society very inclusive and welcoming, many other people don’t want to take the step to actually get involved because of the perceived barriers between the society and the general engineering population.